My Weight-Loss Story, with pictures!

Before Pictures:
1992

1999

2001

my weight up and downs between 2001 and after the birth of our second son in 2009



After Pictures:
Left: July 2001, Middle January 2013, Right July 2013


...and my journey never ends:  2012 to 2014
Right 2014


When I tried losing weight a million times, no matter the plan the outcome was always the same.  I’d lose 20-30lbs, feel great and then have a bad day, rebel from eating cabbage soup and it was back to bags of chips and fast food for me.  The weight would come creeping back on and before I knew it I had let myself down again…

     I noticed that my weight was an issue early on in my life.  I was taller and larger than most of my classmates, but realized that when other kids were playing and having fun, I was worried about food.  Always wanting to know when it was time to eat and what we were having.  My life was CENTERED around food.  My family gathered around food.  It was someone’s birthday, we ate….anything we could turn into a celebration and we’d EAT.  If I was hungry, instead of a light snack I’d have 3 course meals just like the adults.  While other children were enjoying childhood, I was worried about being the last one to finish my laps in PE or why my pants were too tight.  By the time I got the junior high, my weight was noticeably more than my classmates, I would stand in the snack bar line 2-3 times just to grab that last snack.  Was I hungry?  Absolutely not but I was trapped.  It only got worse as I grew older.  Yes I fit in and was a popular kid but I was smiling on the outside while feeling empty inside.  By now I had accepted that I was the “fat girl” and just tried to fit in my using my bubbly personality and it worked…for a long time.
    Standing in my bathroom at 21 years old, I didn’t recognize myself.  I was addicted to fast food and yes I call it an addiction because I would eat one meal while watching the time pass until I could get my next.  It was like a drug to me, short-lived but felt so good as I indulged.  Sad isn’t it?  How being dependent on food can be just as painful and self-destructive as a drug?  I was a 21 year old college student, weighing 245lbs, in a size 18 and helpless.  This was my life.  I had accepted it.  Or had I?

If I wanted to CHANGE, the kind of change that would last…I had to do something drastic.  I had to change my way of thinking.  See for so long I felt like life was unfair.  Why did I have to diet and exercise to lose weight, while others stuffed their faces with chips and soft drinks and looked like Barbie and Ken?  Why??  It was when I stopped asking Why and started LIVING that my life truly changed and I never looked back.  

My story:  
To truly understand my passion for healthy living, you must understand where it all began.  I was an overweight child and teenager but never truly out of control until college.  I struggled with weight and self-image for most of my childhood.  I was a child of divorce, so food was a way to deal with the pain and loss of my “normal” life.  People deal with stress differently and my way is through eating, unfortunately.  So, I started off college as most teenagers do, lost and looking for my way.  I have an extremely strong relationship with my mother, so leaving was hard but I really enjoyed my time away, growing as a person and finding myself.  Unfortunately, that came with weight gain.  I was going out with friends, eating too much, drinking and fast food were my best friends, sad but true.  I was a size 18, 240 lbs…oh just writing it out, makes me sick.  It brings back all of the pain, the shame, the self-worthlessness…all of it.  One night I had come home from being out with friends, I stopped in front of my bathroom mirror and just stared.  I no longer knew that girl.  I looked at myself and wondered why I had done this to myself for so long.  I always felt different, always larger than my friends but now it was WAY worse, my weight was out of control.  My health was suffering.  I was drinking, smoking and eating out at least once a day, sometimes more!  Ugh.  I stared in that mirror and cried.  It was an awful moment for me, but it also changed my life FOREVER. 
            I decided I needed change in a big way.  But where do I begin?  I looked for support in my friends and found what I needed almost immediately.  I had some friends that were extremely healthy, boys who went to the gym every day, stayed active, didn’t smoke, watched what they ate…all of it.  This is what I needed!  So, I asked.  They were MORE than willing to help me; they knew I was lost and wanted help.  It started with a trip to the gym.  I was embarrassed, felt so insecure, especially standing next to all of these guys who were in the best shape ever.  But I did it anyway, jumped on the machine and they guided me through my first workout…who knew that ONE trip to the gym, would change my life forever! 
            The next day I woke up so sore, aching and starving too!  I needed help with my diet, it was all off track, out of control and contained WAY more food than one person should eat in a day, that’s for sure.  They agreed to cook with me, teach me how to cook healthy, eat at home and enjoy it.  It was so eye-opening.  Without their support, who knows where I’d be.  I lost 8 lbs in ONE WEEK.  Yes, one week!  I was beyond thrilled.  I felt better, had more energy and had officially started my weight loss journey!  The weight loss continued from there.  It took me six months to lose over 70lbs!  I was a new person.  Happy, confident and I had found a new love for exercise and nutrition!  I pretty much went from one extreme to the other and boy, did it feel good!
            At this point in my life, I was a sophomore in college studying journalism.  When I started to understand nutrition and healthy eating, I started to research more, wanted to find out more and more.  So, I changed my major from Journalism to Health.  Wow, what a change!  With my workouts, came meeting new friends at the gym.  It was great because they had the same goals and health was a large part of their lives so it kept me focused and motivated.  I was asked to teach aerobics for the gym and to share my weight loss story with members.  I was SO excited.  I started teaching Step Aerobics and Body Pump and LOVED every second.  As I transformed my life, I felt a happiness like I had never felt before.  All those years as a child, struggling to fit in and using my humor as a way to distract others from my physical appearance.  See, I never struggled with bullying or teasing, because I was funny.  I made people laugh, I was “popular”, and that’s how I stayed away from being teased in school.  I still felt completely helpless, even with all of those “friends”.  I felt lonely and not comfortable in my own skin.  Now that I had changed my life, I was beginning to feel  like I had wanted to feel my entire life.  It was amazing!
            I eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education.  I wanted to share my enthusiasm for healthy living with people everywhere!  I wanted to help by sharing my passion and my story to help motivate others who were “stuck” like me.  Who couldn’t find their way.  My grandparents had always worried about me and my weight.  The look on their faces when I reached my goal was something I’ll never forget.  They were SO proud.  It felt better than losing the weight.  They were happy that they didn’t have to worry about their unhealthy granddaughter any longer.  I will never forget that moment when my grandfather said, “Marissa, you look amazing…I am so proud of you!”…he passed away in 2001 and I’ll still never forget those words. 
            I worked in cardiac rehab for a while, helping develop nutrition plans and exercise routines for heart patients.  It was a very fulfilling job for me, especially since my grandmother had been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure not long before.  I felt in some way, I was helping her too.  Then I wanted to help MORE, so I went for my teacher certification in health and physical education.  I taught P.E. and really connected with the children, helping them understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and I was able to share my story with those that struggled with weight and really change their lives.  That feeling is like NO other. 
            These days, I have kept 92lbs off for over 10 years…yes, 10 years!  WOOHOO!  I have gained 10 lbs here and there, but NEVER gone back to that dark place.  I am constantly reminded of how happy my life is and how I wanted to represent a healthy lifestyle for my husband and children too!  My four year old already sees our examples and hopefully he will want to lead a healthy lifestyle too!  My husband recently found his new way of healthy living, and we want to grow and raise a healthy family together!  My passion is being with my family but I will never lose sight of wanting to help others lose weight and maintain a healthy way of living.  That is why I created my blog, Lets Move It Mommas; as a support system for busy mom’s that need support.  I hope that this blog serves as that support they are looking for from day to day.  It’s what I set out to do years ago and I will continue to do it for years to come.  I hope my story has inspired you or at least made you think…it’s nice to go back and see where it all began.  It serves as a daily motivation for me and always will.  I don’t know that unhealthy girl any more, I am a strong healthy woman who struggles with weight every day and continues to find that balance for myself and my family!  

My husband has had one heck of a transformation himself.  
After going in for his annual physical and finding that his blood pressure was too high to continue the evaluation, he was scared straight.  We decided that day we would change TOGETHER because while I had lost a majority of my weight before meeting him, getting married and having children his weight spiraled out of control AFTER all of that.  It was the wake up call that we both needed to keep me on the right track and to get my husband healthy once again.  He fought hard and still fights hard today.  He started running, very little at first and increased his duration and speed as time passed.  He stopped visiting fast food restaurants to and from work and we started eating at home a lot more.







Today he and I have completed 5 half marathons!
We love to run together and push each other to reach and exceed new goals!  
He's much faster than I am but I look forward to him waiting at the finish line of each race :)
We stress the importance of healthy living with our two boys.  They run with us, play sports and stay very active which is something we take great pride in.  We want to make sure that we learn from our mistakes and help our children live happy and healthy lives.  

**It is important to note that we used no pills, quick fixes, surgeries or other weight loss supplements.  It was ALL from hard work, dedication, changing our eating habits and valuing exercise every day, on top of getting fed up with our former lives...we do not judge those that do use these methods, but I feel like losing weight and getting health is HARD and we should admit to having "help" along the way to not give a sense of false hope to those lives that we try to encourage or inspire.  





My weight loss journey doesn't stop there...
Not at all!
In January 2013, I decided that my journey was far from over...in fact it was only beginning with the birth of my Move It Momma's!
We are a women's only workout group that focuses on empowering one another, building strength and improving our health one day at a time.  We talk about our strengths and weaknesses and we lift one another up throughout the workouts.  We have completed races as a group, attended nutrition outings and many more fun activities as a group.
THEY HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE.
They help me feel strong when I am feeling weak.
They have helped me understand that it was okay to struggle for all those years because it led me to helping each one of them, each with their own story and struggles to share and overcome.
They are beautiful, all different ages, sizes and backgrounds but that is what makes them so special...
WE NEVER QUIT!  Always together and never against one another.
Life is hard.  Losing weight and getting healthy is HARD so we must build each other up and help make that journey just a bit easier...



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